A bunch of Purgers in The Purge: Anarchy

Readers, it’s time to Purge once more, as The Forever Purge brings the series that saw an alternate America legalize all crime for one night back to theaters. The supposedly final chapter in Blumhouse’s hit franchise, The Purge movies kind of have the same issue that the Fast and Furious movies do. When it comes to watching the films in order, it’s not a totally straightforward enterprise to know what order to watch them in.

Of course, if you’re going to make your way through the history of the New Founding Fathers of America and the holiday they created, you have two options. You can either watch the films in the order they were released, or you can watch The Purge unfold in chronological order. No matter which way you decide to enjoy the franchise, we’re about to hand you the guide that’ll lay it all out on the line. Let’s start with how most of the world enjoyed their first Purge experience: in order of release date.

Two Purgers wearing creepy masks in The Purge.

The Purge Movies By Release Date Order

With The Purge becoming an unexpected hit in 2013, another Blumhouse success story was born. From that point, four theatrical sequels were produced, running up to this summer’s debut of The Forever Purge. So if you want to watch the series as it was released, here’s the order you should use:

The Purge (2013)
The Purge: Anarchy (2014)
The Purge: Election Year (2016)
The First Purge (2018)
The Forever Purge (2021)

Of course, hindsight is 20/20; and The Forever Purge is a theatrical release. So if you want to be sure you’re caught up before you head out to a theater near you, you’re going to want to watch the movies in chronological order. In which case, this next list is for you.

Marisa Tomei smiles while bathed in red light in The Purge.

The Purge Movies, In Chronological Story Order

The thing about the Purge movies is that most of them involve different stories and characters than the others, which means it's mainly the world in which the films are set that remains the same. With almost a decade of Purge movies, and roughly double that many years covered in the history presented in the franchise, chronological story order is key. If you want to get a straight and narrow telling of how the annual Purge got off the ground, you’re going to have to start at the beginning. Luckily enough, the first movie in The Purge series is easy enough to spot.

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Joivan Wade and Lex Scott Davis concerned behind a chain link fence in The First Purge.

The First Purge

Kicking off the story of The Purge franchise in the year 2017, The First Purge shows us the first execution of the “NFFA Social Experiment.” Taking place over the usual 12 hour period, but limited to Staten Island, the night that led to The Purge and all of its sequels is on full display. The rules are a bit different, but the ruthless heart of this dark satirical thriller is still there. Not to mention, the true history of Purge Night’s dark origins are revealed, with the consequences set to reverberate over the course of nearly two decades.

Ethan Hawke looks through a letterbox with anxiety in The Purge.

The Purge

Moving into the future of the franchise, The Purge brings us to the fifth annual Purge in 2022. Purge Night is now a nationally established tradition, with the New Founding Fathers of America being able to claim low unemployment and no crime rate, thanks to one night where America releases the beast. The Purge is also notable for introducing us to “The Bloody Stranger” (Edwin Hodge), a man who would eventually serve a greater purpose in this reborn nation. And it won't take long to see the results, as this stranger reappears in the next film in line.

A Purger skateboarding in The Purge: Anarchy.

The Purge: Anarchy

One year after The Purge, another Purge Night is up and running in The Purge: Anarchy. The mythos of this alternate America grows with the sixth annual Purge, and 2023 introduces the anti-Purge movement that’s grown in the year. Key characters that are introduced in the third Purge film are would-be purger Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) and Carmelo Johns (Michael K. Williams,) the leader of the anti-Purge resistance. Also returning is Dante Bishop, still known as “The Stranger,” another player in the forces that are trying to derail the NFFA’s power structure.

An Abraham Lincoln purger waits for Frank Grillo and Elizabeth Mitchell in The Purge: Election Year.

The Purge: Election Year

Brace yourselves, because The Purge series jumps pretty far ahead into the future. The Purge: Election Year zooms to the year 2040, as Leo Barnes is now a Secret Service agent protecting presidential hopeful Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell). For the first time, the Purge Night restriction that kept politicians of a certain level of status safe has been revoked, leaving Senator Roan and Leo to survive the night. Lucky for them, Dante Bishop and Carmelo Johns are still in play; with Johns only being mentioned in this installment.

Josh Lucas gagged and tied by a purger in The Forever Purge.

The Forever Purge

Originally, The Forever Purge was meant to be the final brick in the wall of this franchise. Set in the aftermath of The Purge: Election Year, the year 2041 sees an America where the Purge has supposedly been rejected by the government. Of course, there’s a chance that it’s been reinstituted, or at least that seems to be the goal of the new batch of crazies that want to make sure America lives up to the film’s title. These cowpokes want to Purge forever, and they’ll do anything they can to make sure they have the right.

Should The Purge continue after The Forever Purge’s release, there will probably be a bunch of new history to learn, and more pieces involved in this crazy game. But for now, if you want to catch up or brush up on your alternate American history, you’ve got the tools to do just that. Your Purge experience awaits, as the whole theatrical franchise is available to stream (check out our Purge movies streaming guide), as well as its two season TV series. And you can read up on the basics of how Purge Night works here.Happy Purge viewing, dear readers!

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All The Purge Movies, Ranked

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